How Hiba Tawaji Completely Owned France’s The Voice

Hiba Tawaji The Voice

Hiba Tawaji just blew everyone away at France’s The Voice, as was expected. She started off singing Michel Legrand’s “Les Moulins De Mon Coeur” before going into her own Lebanese version of the song “La Bidayi Wala Nihayi” prompting all four judges to turn for her.

Hiba then continued singing effortlessly before ending her performance with a high note that got all 4 judges to give her a standing ovation, as well as have the audience attending the taping rise to their feet to applause her.

This is Hiba’s performance:

She ended up choosing Mika as her coach for the rest of the show.

Hiba Tawaji - The Voice France

French audiences were also extremely receptive of her. “Libanaise” and “Hiba” both trended on Twitter worldwide. The following is a sample of the tweets that I screenshot as people gushed about her performance:

Even the head of Universal Music France was blown away by her:

Hiba Tawaji The Voice France

I saw a lot of Lebanese people wonder how it makes sense for someone as accomplished as Hiba Tawaji to end up on a French talent show.

I think someone as talented and as vocally adept as Tawaji is limited by the scope of what she can do in a country like Lebanon. Her talent can easily find a place in an international scene, with France being the easiest stepping stone as The Voice has proven to be receptive for Lebanese talents as Hiba Tawaji is the fourth Lebanese in four seasons to participate.

Sure, participating in a talent show doesn’t necessarily translate to instant success, nor does it mean she is sure to win the show. But if there’s any Lebanese that can have a shot at reaching the finals (the best outcome so far was Anthony Touma reaching the semi-finals in season 2), it’s her – and her audition only serves to prove that point: out of all 4 Lebanese, she was the best by far.

Moreover, Hiba Tawaji has been around for several years now, and her state of success, albeit impressive, is easily dwarfed by much less talented but more busted female singers in the country, which means that she is quite under-appreciated here for the level of art she is presenting.

Naturally, there will also be those who tell us that there are more important things to worry about. Of course there are more important things that Lebanese should be preoccupied with. At times like these when our army soldiers are bravely dying to let us watch such TV shows safely in the confines of our homes, and when there’s little to be optimistic about at the state of the country actually, such a moment can serve to unwind. And that’s not really a bad thing.

The French are referring to Hiba as “la Libanaise.” She represents us and is doing so extremely well. As such, Hiba Tawaji has made us all proud today and best of luck to her progression on the show.


LBC’s New TV Show: Splash!

I get competition shows that are centered around singing or dancing. I may not be a fan or watch them but at least I can fathom their premise.

Then comes Splash! also known as LBC is really desperate for a hit TV show à la Dancing With The Stars.

The TV show will start this coming Sunday. It has been adopted from the UK version which ranked only #16 weekly among British TV shows. Not impressive at all. And yet Splash! is here.

A few Lebanese celebrities will be competing against each other in diving. That’s what the show is all about. Lame? You bet. Silly? An even surer guess. What’s the point? I guess it’s still better than airing AUD’s graduation ceremony on Sunday, Roula Saad – Star Academy’s person – has been without a TV show for a while now and there will be public voting, obviously. Money, money, money!
And there’s of course seeing Nancy Afiouny in a bikini. I sure want to see her meow, meow. If you know what I mean.

The candidates, also known as celebrities whose days have passed and want a career reboot, include:
– Nancy Afiouny
– Nelly Makdessy
– Arze Chidiac
– Antoinette Akiki
– Katia Keady
– Nicole Tohme
– Rita Hayek
– Laurette Hnayno
– Elie Massaad
– Salah Tizani
– Rodolphe Hilal
– Naser Abou Lafy
– Sevag Demerjian
– Wajih Saker
– Silvio Chiha

Yes, I have no clue what most of those “celebrities” do and yes, there will definitely be cannonballs.

Our TV stations are adamant about bringing growingly lamer TV shows from abroad just to create some buzz. Will you be watching Splash!?
Somehow the thought of most of those people doing twirls before they splash everyone is getting less and less appealing by the second.

Thank you @Joseph__Saade for the info.

MTV, OTV & LBC’s Sunday Programming: The Graduation Ceremony of the American University of Dubai

Graduation ceremonies are horrible. My AUB 2010 ceremony felt endless. Names upon names got called out as we sat there sweating like pigs under the June sun. I’d never do it again. But Lebanon’s TV stations felt it was a good idea to air a graduation ceremony all Sunday afternoon.

Except there was nothing Lebanese about the graduation. AUD, I had no idea you mattered to MTV, LBC & OTV this much. Let’s label this one big fat failure of TV programming. I don’t care what’s the reason behind those three TV stations airing the American University of Dubai’s graduation. There is no reason that can make this remotely acceptable – not when Lebanese universities have countless graduations every year which go unnoticed, unaired and, well, irrelevant. Not that graduation ceremonies should air on live TV anyway.

How empty is the Sunday afternoon slot on Lebanese TV exactly?

I bet those students of AUD feel nice to be appreciated. By Lebanese TV stations. Lebanese students, on the other hand, are not classy enough. Not even those who pay thousands of dollars to attend Lebanon’s brand of Ivy League campuses, let alone those whose university is – lowers voice into a barely audible whisper – free.

Update: Apparently this is the FIFTH year they air this. Hopefully it’s the last as well.



Beirut Goes To Storybrooke


While watching the newest episode of American TV Show “Once Upon a Time,” which flashbacks to the earlier days of Storybrooke, one of the characters was reading a newspaper in which former US-president Reagan is declaring something regarding the Marines in Beirut.

For those who don’t know, Once Upon a Time is a very creative and interesting show by the creators of LOST, which is one of my favorite TV shows of all time (despite the lackluster finale). It’s about every single fairytale character you could think of and how their stories intertwine as they are taken out of their world and into ours where they live in the town of Storybrooke, without any recollection of their previous lives.

Of course, the plot has definitely thickened and gone much darker since the show’s early days but it’s always interesting how they manage to weave together stories you never thought would have any relation to each other: Snow White and Hook, Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White, Jack (the one with of the beans) with Hook, Rumplestilskin and everyone else, etc….

It also offers a whole new “perspective” to the stories we grew up reading – can you imagine for a second that Snow White may have been the reason her stepmother went bad?

If you’re not watching Once Upon a Time, I highly recommend you start doing so – not because of their irrelevant mention of Beirut which lasts less than 1 second but because the show’s premise is very different from everything else out there.

Five TV Series You Should Start Watching

It may be hard to believe given this blog’s content but I actually watch more series than movies. I always try to start new ones although with the frequency that new shows start in the U.S. that isn’t as easy as it sounds.

So I figured I’d compile a list of five relatively new TV shows that I’m enjoying the most and that you should start downloading as soon as possible. The TV shows that are not eligible on this list are, but not exclusive to, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Vampire Diaries, The Good Wife, Once Upon a Time, etc…

This list is in order.

Revenge TV Show seriess poster

5 – Revenge

The show chronicles the story of Emily Clarke as she seeks out revenge on the people who framed her father and threw him in jail for terrorist charges. The show has its ups and downs but its ups being very exciting. This isn’t a story about forgiveness, the show opens up, this is a story about revenge. And such sweet revenge it is. Revenge is currently airing its second season.

Nashville TV SHow series poster

4 – Nashville

You don’t need to like country music to enjoy Nashville because the show isn’t about the music only. It’s about the music business in Nashville, about women trying to make it in a patriarchal music genre. It’s also about politics and family dynamics. All in all, the show encompasses a lot of elements and is always enjoyable. It has many characters so you are bound to relate to one of them. I also highly enjoy the music it offers every week so Nashville entertains my ears as well. Nashville is currently airing its first season.

Scandal TV Show series poster

3 – Scandal

An average first season of only 7 episodes gave way to an absolutely brilliant (so far) second season. Scandal is an absolutely gripping show about things that go on behind closed doors in Washington up from the White House down to more irrelevant people. Conspiracy theorist-lovers will absolutely dig this. I think it’s a great TV show because of the way it manages to weave many things together and make it look absolutely normal. Scandal is currently airing its second season.

Suits USA TV SHow series poster

2 – Suits

You’ve probably seen many legal dramas over the years. But Suits is probably the most interesting of the bunch. It has the coolest bromance on TV amid a highly competitive atmosphere of lawyers. While the legal aspect of the show is prominent and highly interesting, it is the interactions between its different characters that will keep you hooked. Suits has spawned the viral catchphrase: what would Harvey do? You’ll start wondering this as you watch it. Suits will reprise its second season next Thursday, January 17th.

American Horror Story Asylum TV Show series

1 – American Horror Story: Asylum

Where do I start? After a not-so-shabby first season, I didn’t think I’d even start the second season of American Horror Story which has nothing to do with the first one. So you can start this without worries. But how mistaken was I in thinking that. Using a lot of the same actors of the first season, the show brings it episode for episode. Great direction, extremely thrilling story and characters that you either love or love to hate – all of them will keep you transfixed, as well as some absolutely brilliant acting performances by the likes of Jessica Lange who has won a Golden Globe and Emmy for her performance in the first season. There’s probably few other TV shows airing right now that can rival American Horror Story: Asylum in intensity. I don’t find it scary but it definitely keeps you at the edge of your seat. Hollywood should take notes. This is how you do horror. AHS is currently airing its second season.